USA's John Catlin celebrates with the trophy after winning The Irish Open at Galgorm Castle Golf Club, in Ballymena, Northern Ireland on Sunday. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Colm McLoughlin, the Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, has backed the role played of Dubai following a strong return of international golf across the globe.

Young American John Catlin overturned a four-stroke deficit at Galgorm Castle Golf Club while firing a sublime final round 64 to win his second European Tour title of the season at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open last Sunday.


“What he [Catlin] has achieved is wonderful. To win two big tournaments in such a short span of time shows his maturity and poise,” McLoughlin told Gulf News in an exclusive interview.

“But the role that we have played in helping the Tour get back on the road also depicts our intent at backing the return of major sports all around the world. Golf and Dubai are closely associated with the Race to Dubai and some of the top tournaments held here. And for us to be part of this means true success for everyone,” he added.

It has been a challenging year for everyone and we are happy to have retained our sponsorship support for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, says Colm McLoughlin. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

American Catlin, who held off the challenge of former world No.1 Martin Kaymer to win the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters earlier this month, started the final day four strokes behind 54-hole leader Aaron Rai. But, the 29-year-old quickly moved up the leaderboard as he made the turn on three under par.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open was initially scheduled to be held in May, but with the coronavirus pandemic playing havoc throughout the world ,the event was postponed to September at the at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.

And despite the fact that the tournament was played behind closed doors, there was plenty of excitement on the golf course as Catlin overhauled overnight leader Rai to win.

“It has been a challenging year for everyone and we are happy to have retained our sponsorship support for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open despite all these challenges. It is events like these that promote our brand to a huge audience around the while helping promote Dubai as a place that is already open,” he added.

Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Dubai Duty Free and Des Smyth, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Tournament Ambassador were at hand in Ireland to make the presentation of trophies and prizes.

In 2018, Dubai Duty Free had agreed a four-year extension of its title sponsorship of the Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, taking the partnership through to 2022. Dubai Duty Free had begun its title sponsorship in 2015, with the prize fund increasing year-on-year from €2.5 million to a record $7 million last year following its inauguration as one of the European Tour’s eight Rolex Series events.

“Getting behind a sport is the right thing to do, especially at this time. We saw this as a n opportunity to assist golf and the European Tour even though there was Pro-Am, no hospitality and no spectators allowed to attend the competition,” McLoughlin noted.